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Sick pay to remain Ft 7 bln below target

In the National Health Administration Fund's (OEP) forecast, national sick pay spending will remain Ft 7 billion below the Ft 104.6 billion target in 2005, according to Ferenc Móricz, an OEP department head. The fund paid Ft 47.5 billion to employees on sick leave in Q1 and Q2, this is Ft 4.8 billion less than planned. The decline is part of a similar trend since 2003, which helped OEP save Ft 5.3 billion in sick pay last year as sick leave days fell by 6 million and the number of cases by 100,000. Móricz attributed this favorable trend partly to the more stringent sick leave policies introduced by OEP, whose medical inspectors reviewed 145,000 cases and found nearly 30,000 "patients" in good health in Q1-Q2 this year alone. (Wed Vg 2) P.P.